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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  C.S. Mott, General Motors


Washington Times
December 30, 1922

C. S. Mott Believes Differences in Local Signs Is Mistake.

C. S. Mott, vice president of General Motors, is a strong advocate of uniform warning signals in connection with the operation of motor vehicles.

"With the increasing frequency of long-haul truck operation," says Mr. Mott, "and the fact that passenger cars often make long tours, some exact standard in warning signals is absolutely imperative.  It is hard to understand why there should be any great difficulty in unifying practice.  The men in the freight yards at San Francisco can handle freight in New York and vice versa.  A brakeman on a through freight does not have to learn local signals for every town, or even every state, that he passes through.  His signals are understood from coast to coast and from Canada to the Gulf.

"Experience in driving all over the country convinces me that the system of signals in use on the Pacific coast is the most logical and reasonable one.  There is no chance for misunderstanding, and I should be glad to see them adopted as the standard for the entire country.  As it is now, there are important differences in the form of automotive traffic control used in the different centers; this makes for trouble and annoyance, and even for danger.

"It is of course out of the question to utilize the familiar safety devices used on the railroads to control the movement of traffic.  Neither the highway nor the city street lends itself to the operation of block signals.  What can be done, and what should be done as speedily as possible, is to secure uniformity of warning signals given by operators of motor vehicles, passenger and commercial, and uniformity of traffic direction and regulation by traffic officers the country over.

"General Motors is always deeply interested in anything that looks to the greater safety of automobiles."

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